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Dusty Groove Label Returns From Real Gone Music with Steig, Humphrey, Harris

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Jeremy Steig - Wayfaring Stranger

The venerable Blue Note Records label was founded in 1939, and from the late 1940s onward emphasized what was most modern about jazz.  Blue Note became well known, of course, for the hard bop classics recorded under its aegis.  But the varied influences that created hard bop led Blue Note to explore how the avenues of soul, rock and blues intersected with that of jazz.  Three new releases from Real Gone Music and the reactivated Dusty Groove Records label explore three sonically-diverse titles from the storied Blue Note catalogue circa the early 1970s.

Jeremy Steig, Wayfaring Stranger (RGM-0109, originally released 1970)

There’s an intimate, up close and personal feel to Wayfaring Stranger, the lone Blue Note LP by the flautist.  The album takes its title from the traditional tune, heard here in Steig’s expansive arrangement.  Though joined on the LP by Don Alias on drums, Eddie Gomez on bass and Sam Brown on guitar, Steig’s exotic, alluring flute alone opens the album.  It’s almost two minutes before the rest of the band kicks in, but it’s soon clear that Wayfaring Stranger is a collaborative effort.

As produced by Sonny Lester, there are plenty of highlights in just six tracks.  The album’s first side is entirely self-penned, or in the case of the title track, self-arranged, whereas all of Side Two was co-written by the simpatico pair of Steig and Gomez.  In the new liner notes by Pat Thomas, Steig remarks that the album was created based on live improvisation.  While the entire unit is tight, the emphasis is on the interplay between the funky, howling flute and soulful bass. Torrid rock drums from Alias kick off “Mint Tea,” which also blends R&B and bop influences into its 5+ minutes.  Brown’s haunting guitar accents meld with Steig’s more grounded if no less dexterous flute on 11-minute “Wayfaring Stranger.”  You can even hear a bit of Gershwin-esque Americana in Steig’s lyrical statement of the folk melody before it veers into funk territory.  Gomez, a stalwart also known for his work with the legendary Bill Evans, holds the quartet together as Steig’s flute soars and Alias offers fine brushwork.  (Steig had an Evans connection, too.  1969’s What’s New was recorded by the pair as co-leaders.)  Gomez’ bass is liquid on the rock groove of “Waves,” while the lengthy “All is One” offers a darker atmosphere with spare interplay.  The album closer, “Space,” is an appropriately stately conclusion.

Real Gone’s new reissue doesn’t add any bonus tracks, but contains the original album artwork plus the aforementioned liner notes from Pat Thomas.  (This formula is adhered to on all three reissues.)  Wayfaring Stranger has been subtly remastered by Kevin Bartley at Capitol Mastering.

After the jump: a look at new reissues from Bobbi Humphrey and Gene Harris! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

January 14, 2013 at 13:03

Release Round-Up: Week of December 4

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Complete Johnny CashJohnny Cash, The Complete Columbia Collection (Columbia/Legacy)

Perhaps the biggest box set of the quarter (maybe the whole year?), this 63-disc set collects all of The Man in Black’s Columbia albums from The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1959) to Live at Madison Square Garden (recorded in 1969 and released in 2002), plus an expansion of the Sun album Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar (1957) and two discs of non-LP singles and other odds and ends.  Here’s Joe’s review of the whole set!   (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Mellon Collie deluxeSmashing Pumpkins, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness: Deluxe Edition (Virgin/EMI)

“Tonight, Tonight” (or today, today) is the day to get the latest Smashing Pumpkins catalogue project: four discs (three CDs and a DVD) of bonus material appended to the original double LP! (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) A triple-vinyl remaster of the original album is also available (Amazon U.S. / U.K.), as is a basic remaster of the album on two discs. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

The Who Studio AlbumsThe Who, The Studio Albums (Geffen/UMe)

Every one of The Who’s 11 main albums, newly remastered and replicated for vinyl. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

KISS Casablanca SinglesKISS, The Casablanca Singles 1974-1982 (Mercury/Casablanca/UMe)

Every A and B-side from KISS’ Casablanca years, replicated on CD (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) and, allegedly, vinyl singles, though we’ve never found a retail link for that version, outside of an outsize expensive link from Universal itself.

The Slider 40th Anniversary BoxT. Rex, The Slider: 40th Anniversary Edition Box Set (Edsel)

A super-deluxe take on T. Rex’s iconic LP, featuring the original album remastered by Tony Visconti, two discs of B-sides, demos and outtakes, a DVD, two books, a vinyl LP and three 7″ singles. (Amazon U.K. / U.S.)

Mary Wells Something NewMary Wells, Something New: Motown Lost & Found (Hip-O Select/Motown)

Two discs of rare and unreleased Mary Wells tunes from the fabled Motown vaults! (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Johnny Mathis - So NiceJohnny Mathis, So Nice/Johnny Mathis Sings / John Hatford, Aero-Plane/Morning Bugle: The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings / The Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Vol. 26–4/26/69 Electric Theater, Chicago, IL 4/27/69 Labor Temple Minneapolis, MN / Gene Harris, Gene Harris/The Three Sounds/Gene Harris of The Three Sounds / Bobbi Humphrey, Dig This / Jeremy Steig, Wayfaring Stranger (Real Gone)

Real Gone’s December slate includes the last of the Johnny Mathis/Mercury two-fers, another Dick’s Pick reissue and three Blue Note selections reissued on the resurrected Dusty Groove imprint! (Head here for pre-order links on all these sets.)

Prodigy Fat of the Land 15The Prodigy, The Fat of the Land: 15th Anniversary Edition (XL)

The Prodigy’s breakthrough album remastered and expanded with Added Fat, an EP of new remixes of tracks like “Firestarter,” “Breathe” and “Smack My Bitch Up.” (Amazon U.S. / U.K.) That EP is available separately on vinyl (Amazon U.S. / U.K.), as is a vinyl reissue of the original LP (Amazon U.S.).

Alice Cooper Old School 2Alice Cooper, Old School 1964-1974 (Bigger Picture)

Remember this box set? This is a condensed version – just CDs, no vinyl or extra swag. (Amazon U.S. / U.K.)

Hooters 3ferThe Hooters, Nervous Night/One Way Home/Zig Zag (BGO)

All three of The Hooters’ Columbia albums on one handy two-disc set. (Amazon U.K. / U.S.)

And here are some vinyl reissues for your enjoyment!

Love, Forever Changes (180 Gram) (Elektra/Rhino)

The Moody Blues, Days of Future Passed (180 Gram) (Friday Music)

Linda Ronstadt, Heart Like a Wheel (RockBeat)

Sade, Promise (180 Gram) (Audio Fidelity)

Real Gone Music Partners with Dusty Groove, Releases Hartford, Mathis and Grateful Dead in December

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If you’re in the market for any last-minute holiday gifts, Real Gone Music has got you covered.  The reissue specialists have announced their December slate of six titles, including three from an exciting new partnership!  As usual for the eclectic Real Goners, the releases cover a wide spectrum of genres, from traditional vocal pop to country, rock and jazz!  On December 4, the label will unveil these six titles: Johnny Mathis’ So Nice/Johnny Mathis Sings;John Hartford’s Aereo-Plain/Morning Bugle—The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings; Grateful Dead’s Dick’s Picks Vol. 26–4/26/69 Electric Theater, Chicago, IL 4/27/69 Labor Temple Minneapolis, MN; Gene Harris’ Gene Harris/The Three Sounds/Gene Harris of the Three Sounds; Bobbi Humphrey’s Dig This; and Jeremy Steig’s Wayfaring Stranger.  The final three titles are being released in collaboration with Chicago music retailer Dusty Groove.

Real Gone concludes its reissue series of Johnny Mathis’ Mercury albums with So Nice (1966) and Johnny Mathis Sings (1967).  So Nice (which hit No. 50 on the 1966 charts) took its title from Marcos Valle’s bossa nova ballad, and Mathis drew other songs from Broadway musicals (three songs from the then-current smash Man of La Mancha) and the pop charts (Bacharach and David’s “What the World Needs Now is Love,” Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”) Johnny Mathis Sings (which reached No. 103) was even more diverse, with more Bacharach and David (“Always Something There to Remind Me,” “Saturday Sunshine”) joined by Lennon and McCartney (“Eleanor Rigby”) and Bobby Hebb (“Sunny”).  Mathis also tackled contemporary film and theatre songs on his tenth and final set for Mercury Records.  Soon after the release of Sings, he was back at Columbia Records to start another chapter.  Both albums make their CD debut, remastered by Mark Wilder at Battery Studios and featuring liner notes written by James Ritz featuring quotes from Mathis himself.

From a great singer to a great songwriter: Real Gone is also issuing, for the first time, The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings of John Hartford.  The “Gentle on My Mind” songwriter, having established onscreen fame paired with Glen Campbell and The Smothers Brothers on television, signed to Warner Bros. in 1971 and issued two singular long-players.  For 1971’s Aereo-Plain, Hartford brought together fiddler Vassar Clements, dobroist Tut Taylor, guitarist Norman Blake and bassist Randy Scruggs to play a set that paved the way for the so-called “newgrass” movement of contemporary bluegrass music.  Despite its lack of commercial success, Hartford pressed ahead with 1972’s Morning Bugle, on which he was joined by Blake and bassist Dave Holland.   Real Gone’s definitive survey of Hartford’s WB period includes eight previously unreleased tracks (four from each session), with notes by Hartford historian Andrew Vaughan and photos donated by the artist’s family.

After the jump: The Grateful Dead, plus three lost gems from Real Gone and Dusty Groove! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

October 26, 2012 at 10:10